The Supreme Court on Wednesday, June 21, 2023 urgently took on board a plea by Kannur district panchayat in Kerala to euthanise “suspected rabid” and “extremely dangerous” stray dogs.
A Vacation Bench of Justices Surya Kant and M.M. Sundresh issued formal notice and listed the case for hearing on July 12.
The panchayat had moved the Supreme Court shortly after a 11-yr-old autistic child was allegedly “mauled to death” by a pack of stray dogs in Kannur on June 11. The panchayat which filed the petition through its president PP Divya, represented by advocate Subhash Chandran KR, said it was “horrified” by the incident.
“This is a very unfortunate incident… The matter regarding stray dogs has been pending in this court since 2015…” the Bench said.
Respondents, who intervened in the mentioning by Mr. Chandran, said they were not given due notice of the petition filed by the panchayat. They needed to file a response.
“There is a trend of killing dogs in Kerala… This is a serious problem,” advocate Jasmine Damkewala, for the respondents in the case, submitted.
The Bench directed them to file their response in court by July 7 and listed the petition along with other connected cases on July 12.
The panchayat’s plea said 5794 cases of stray dog attacks were reported in 2019, 3951 cases in 2020, 7927 cases in 2021, 11776 cases were reported in 2022 and 6276 cases up to June 2023 in Kannur itself.
The district panchayat said there were about 28000 strays within its limits.
It said the menace has continued despite “every effort to control stray dogs’ menace within the local limits”.
“Incidents of stray dog attacks and road accidents due to collision with dogs are increasing day by day within the district panchayat area as well as throughout the State, the petition rued.
Recently, advocate VK Biju had also made an urgent mentioning before the Supreme Court to take up the issue of stray dog attacks on school children, daily wagers and women in the State.
“Kerala has become dogs’ own country,” Mr. Biju had submitted.
The lawyer had drawn attention to how the apex court formed a committee in 2016 under former Kerala High Court judge, Justice S. Srijagan, to hear dog-bite victims, check the gravity of their injuries and keep an eagle eye over the available treatment and facilities for them.